MyBradyLab educator study measures homework and exam scores at East San Gabriel Valley Regional Center
- Data show that students who completed most MyBradyLab homework assignments earned higher average module exam scores and final exam scores.
- Students earning higher MyBradyLab homework scores also had higher average chapter test and module exam scores.
- The use of Email by Criteria in MyBradyLab enables the instructor to provide critical intervention feedback to students in his course about their progress in a personalized manner.
East San Gabriel Valley Regional Occupational Program and Technical Center, West Covina, CA
Emergency Medical Technician
MyBradyLab; Emergency Care, by Limmer and O’Keefe
Brian Richling, EMT, ECPT
- Locale: small city located 19 miles east of downtown Los Angeles in the eastern San Gabriel Valley area, part of greater Los Angeles
- Program length: 15-week core course, plus a four-week intensive pre-EMT course
- Cohort: 12–15 students per cohort; three cohorts per year
- Enrollment: 700 students
- Full-time: 88 percent
- Retention rate: 80 percent
- Average age: 20
- Gender: 63 percent female
- Race/ethnicity: 71 percent Hispanic, 13 percent White, 7 percent Asian, 5 percent African American
About the Course
EMS educator Brian Richling has been teaching for 12 years, the past three years at ESGV, where he has been coordinating the 15-week Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) program. An EMT is an entry-level prehospital technician trained to recognize and manage a wide spectrum of ill and injured patients. The skill set and assessment techniques for the EMT are performed at the basic level. Passing this 600-hour course allows the EMT candidate to take the National Registry of EMT (NREMT) exam. Upon completion of both the program and the NREMT exam, the EMT candidate may submit for their California EMT license. To successfully complete the EMT program and be eligible for licensure exams, the student must:
- Pass all sections of the CORE EMT Program with a grade of 80 percent or higher.
- Complete a minimum of 16 patient contact forms as well as the required 60 hours of clinical rotations and demonstrate competency in skills.
- Complete the requirements for documentation of field experience.
- Demonstrate skills competency in accordance with all local, state, and national regulations.
Challenges and Goals
In order for a student to receive the EMT course completion certificate, they must maintain a score of 80 percent or higher throughout the program. To help students achieve this goal, ESGV had been using MyBradyLab before Richling arrived to manage the program in 2013. In agreement that practice might lead to increased comprehension, Richling hoped that continuing with MyBradyLab would lead to greater course success for more students. Additionally, because significant time is spent during class working on necessary hands-on skills—leaving limited time for reviewing content—Richling was intrigued by homework assignments that could help his students increase their understanding of the course material prior to attending lecture. The results of MyBradyLab pre-tests to create a personalized homework path for individual students was exactly what he was looking for, and in fall 2013, Richling adopted MyBradyLab for all current students.
MyBradyLab is required; students are provided with a computer tablet at the onset of the program which they use both at home and in the classroom. Students use MyBradyLab for understanding content, applying principles to the real-world, and homework assignments. Richling’s goals for assigning work in MyBradyLab are to get students to read the text, apply critical thinking and reasoning to course content, help students assess their own understanding of the course material, and track their progress using pre- and post-tests. As the course instructor, Richling’s role is to assign reading and homework in MyBradyLab, introduce new content in lecture, and provide support and remote monitoring to students using MyBradyLab at home.
Because students in the EMT program come from varied backgrounds, Richling leads his students through the MyBradyLab registration using their tablets on the first day of class. Students work through the sign-on process together, step-by-step, and Richling also walks students through the program so they can see how the assignments are mapped out and how they support the course topics. Richling explains how the pre-test, study plan, and post-test work together to provide each student with a personalized homework assignment specific to their areas of weakness, setting expectations from the beginning. Richling anticipates students will spend at least one hour per evening working in MyBradyLab to be successful. Students responded to a voluntary, end-of-semester survey (54 percent response rate) which revealed that 84 percent spent four or more hours each week working in MyBradyLab.
Richling uses MyBradyLab as a study tool, with the goal of providing students with a meaningful understanding of course content prior to attending lecture. He expects students to:
- View the interactive powerpoint lectures that accompany the Limmer text.
- Complete the required chapter readings.
- Take the MyBradyLab pre-test to check their understanding and identify where they need help.
- Complete the study plan which is comprised of a personal homework assignment for each student, that addresses the deficiencies in understanding identified by the pre-test.
- Finish by taking the MyBradyLab post-test to show mastery of the learning outcomes that required remediation.
Students must earn a minimum of 80 percent on every MyBradyLab activity before moving on. Students who do not earn 80 percent on the initial pre-test are required to complete the study plan, while those scoring above 80 percent can move directly to the post-test. Anecdotally, Richling finds that most students complete the study plan and find it beneficial regardless of their pre-test score. Upon successful completion of the module, students earn a completion grade of 25 points; if they do not score above 80 percent or do not complete the module, they do not earn completion points. Assignments are completed approximately every other week and due the day of the module exam.
Richling uses class time to place emphasis on the more challenging topics; students take notes during their MyBradyLab activities and any difficult content they identify is revisited in lecture. Lecture and class activities are meant to clarify assigned material, integrate knowledge from general education into professional practice, identify concepts to be used in a variety of situations, allow students to be an active participant in learning, and cultivate critical thinking skills. Classroom activities permit application of new knowledge and integration of previous knowledge. Additionally, active class participation is integral to a positive learning environment; classroom demonstrations and lab skills practice cannot be made up, so attendance at lecture is mandatory.
Richling provides students with ample opportunity to assess their course progress by giving a test for every chapter (38); each chapter test comprises 25 multiple-choice questions chosen from the Pearson test bank. Module exams cover approximately five chapters and have 50 multiple-choice questions, with no time limit for completion. Chapter tests, module exams, and the final exam are in-class, written examinations.
Believing that immediate and impactful intervention will help him retain and encourage students throughout the semester, Richling follows a Pearson best practice of using the intervention strategies built into MyBradyLab. The key to effective intervention is targeted, timely communication with students, providing important feedback at critical points during the semester. Email by Criteria allows Richling to contact students as he reviews their progress in the gradebook; the personalized nature of the contact leaves a very favorable impression on students.
- 57% Chapter tests (39)
- 25% Module exams (8)
- 9% MyBradyLab homework assignments (8)
- 9% Final exam
Results and Data
MyBradyLab completion rates were analyzed to determine if a relationship exists between assignment completion and average chapter test and final exam scores (figure 1). Students were placed into two groups based on the average number of MyBradyLab assignments they completed; students who skipped just one or fewer homework assignments earned higher average module exam and final exam grades than students who skipped more than one assignment.
- Average number of assignments skipped: 1
- Students who skipped one or fewer MyBradyLab homework assignments had average module exam grades seven percentage points higher than students who skipped more than one assignment.
- Students who skipped one or fewer MyBradyLab homework assignments had average final exam grades eight percentage points higher than students who skipped more than one assignment.
- 54 percent of students completed all MyBradyLab homework assignments.
- 80 percent of students earning a module exam average of A completed all MyBradyLab homework assignments.
Grade distribution data show that students who earned higher MyBradyLab homework scores also earned higher average chapter test and module exam scores (figure 2).
- Students who earned an average chapter test grade of A had MyBradyLab homework grades 33 percentage points higher than students who earned an average chapter test grade of D.
- Students who earned an average module exam grade of A had MyBradyLab homework grades 13 percentage points higher than students who earned an average module exam grade of C (no students earned a D average).
For students, the formative MyBradyLab homework assignments are intended to help them identify where they are in terms of successfully completing the summative chapter tests and module exams; it appears that performance on these assignments could be a leading indicator of course success (additional research is needed to develop and test this concept further). As a best practice, Richling uses the MyBradyLab gradebook regularly to identify students who are struggling and might be at risk of poor overall course performance.
Relationship between MyBradyLab homework completion and average module exam and final exam scores
Figure 1. Relationship between MyBradyLab Homework Completion and Average Module Exam and Final Exam Scores, Spring 2016 (n=65)
Relationship between average MyBradyLab homework score and average quiz and chapter test scores
Figure 2. Relationship Between Average MyBradyLab Homework Score and Average Quiz and Chapter Test Scores, Spring 2016 (n=65)
The Student Experience
Responses from the Spring 2016 end-of-semester, voluntary survey of Richling’s students (54 percent response rate) indicate that the majority of responding students recognize the value of MyBradyLab:
- 95 percent of students strongly agree (74 percent) or agree that their understanding of the course material increased as a result of using MyBradyLab.
- 100 percent of students strongly agree (74 percent) or agree that the use of MyBradyLab positively impacted their quiz and exam scores.
- 100 percent of students strongly agree (78 percent) or agree that MyBradyLab provided additional resources that helped them learn more than they would have from more traditional paper and pencil homework.
Student survey responses to the question, “What did you like most about MyBradyLab?” include:
- “It offered me many ways to study.”
- “I really enjoyed the fact that if I got a wrong answer it showed why I got it wrong and what the correct answer is in detail.”
- “I liked that it was available 24/7. This allowed me to get work done and study at any time.”
- “The Study Plans really helped me with the chapter tests.”
With MyBradyLab, Richling’s students take responsibility for their own learning outside the classroom so that critical thinking and conceptual learning can take place inside the classroom. MyBradyLab allows him to direct his students’ learning paths so that they complete the required pre-work that will make their classroom and clinical work a progressive learning experience. Because students must maintain an 80 percent throughout the course, the use of MyBradyLab enabled Richling’s student to monitor their progress weekly. Data show that students who earned higher MyBradyLab scores also earned higher chapter test and module exam scores, identifying a relationship between the formative homework and summative tests.